Project Planning

How much time do you spend planning your projects?

For me, not a whole lot, but I think that the projects that I spend more time planning end up being more likely to be finished. One thing that has really helped me with project planning is the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry.

The HPKCHC is a very welcoming, open community, and I’ve had a blast playing along for the last couple of years. It has been really good for helping me finish projects since I get imaginary internet points for finishing things in a timely manner.

One of the activities in HPKCHC is an Ordinary Wizarding Level (OWL) exam. There are prompts, similar to writing prompts, for the types of projects you can do. If you are very clever, you can fit almost any project into almost any prompt. For the upcoming term, which goes from May to the end of July, I am planning to study Care of Magical Creatures and hatch a Fwooper egg. A Fwooper is a magical bird whose song will drive the listener insane, so make sure you have your Silencing Charm at the ready if you ever encounter one.

I am planning to knit Justyna Lorkowska’s Shifted pullover. I have already knit this pattern before, and my plan is to have a whole rainbow of these sweaters by the time I am done.

My Shifted pullover in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Mars | Life on Mars. Finished November 2019.

I currently have Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Barb Deserved Better (solid/light pink), Seaglass (kelly green), Great Gray Owl (a blueish cool gray), Sun Rose (a purply red), and Pop (a bright coral pink). Of course I will need more colors to complete the rainbow, but these are the ones I have collected so far.

For this spring/summer, I am going to go with the Pop color. This is a gorgeous hot coral pink color with splashes of orange. It is going to make a beautiful sweater.

Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Pop

Part of the OWL proposal and planning phase includes making a gauge swatch. Now, I’ve made this sweater in the same yarn (different color) before, so I could have probably gotten away with not swatching, but it is always good to make sure that your color is going to work with the pattern when you are working with hand dyed yarn. I am also using a lighter weight of yarn than what the pattern calls for, so it would have been especially important for me to swatch if this was the first time I was making this pattern in this yarn.

Shifted Gauge Swatch

Part of my project planning also includes an estimation of the 50% mark. To do this, I employ some spreadsheet wizardry using Google Sheets. I go through the pattern that I’m planning and calculate how many stitches are in each row in each section and how many there are total. From there, I can determine what percentage of the project has been completed as I reach certain milestones. I really like this activity since I like making little check marks and crossing off each section as I complete it. It also helps me with pacing. This project has about 73000 stitches for my size and gauge. I have just under three months to complete the OWL project, so I need to work approximately 800 stitches per day. I can knit about 20 stitches per minute in a lightly patterned project (the last time I timed it), so I need to work on this sweater for around 45 minutes per day to make sure that I finish on time and am able to block and photograph the project by the end of July! Totally doable!

I am super excited about this project, but I won’t be able to start it until the first week of May so I can get my 200 internet points. I can’t wait! For now, I’m finishing up some socks and working on an MKAL (more on that soon)!

What are you working on? Are you planning any new projects? Does anyone else love the spreadsheet magic and crossing things off of lists?

New House, Not A Lot of Knitting

The last time I posted, TechnicoolDad and I were on our last week of only one of us working from home. The next week — the third week of January, I think — he and I were both working from home, and by Tuesday, we were on the phone with Grandma begging her to come help. Because working full time while also taking care of a baby and a pre-schooler (not to mention trying to teach them things) is not really possible. For me, anyway. If you can do it without help, you’re a superhero.

Anyway, queue the cascade that was February + March + April. Our baby was almost ready to move into his own room, but we had quickly converted the nursery (that he never actually slept in) back into Grandma’s room, and we were in need of some more space. So we decided to buy a new home and sell our old home. Everything went really well and smoothly for us, but it was a lot of stress and busy-ness, and saying goodbye to the home where our little ones were born was not easy.

Fortunately, we are now in a new home, baby is in his own bedroom (AND SLEEPING 11.5 HOURS AT NIGHT WHAT WHAT), and Grandma has her own bedroom on the ground floor. Life is good. Plus there is a playground in our new neighborhood, and my daughter is loving that.

So what have I been knitting for the last three months? Not a lot, to be honest.

Jaina has a new sweater! This is the Bean & Olive sweater by Andrea Mowry. This was a collaboration with Adella from Lolabean Yarn Co. For my version, I used Hedgehog Merino DK in Crystal for the main color and Lolabean Yarn Co Soy Bean in Felted Forest for the hearts. I purchased both from Eat.Sleep.Knit. I lucked out with a recent restock of more of the gray to make myself a matching Bean & Olive Grown Up eventually. I still haven’t blocked hers. Fortunately, this should fit for a couple of years.

J modeling her fresh-off-the-needles Bean & Olive pullover.

As a side note, this photo was taken in our old home. I miss the floors already, haha. We had just finished getting them just the way we wanted them with that gorgeous gray tile. Because as it turns out, TechnicoolDad and I both love gray. Who would have thought?

As it turns out, that sweater is the only actual finished project on my Ravelry notebook since the Hug Time Bracelets that I talked about in the last post, haha. That doesn’t mean I haven’t started anything.

On the contrary, I have several pairs of vanilla socks in progress and have been practicing with the circular sock machine. Here’s an interesting one:

These sock fragments were all cranked using my circular sock machine from the same skein of yarn. This colorway is All My Love, the January club colorway from Katie at Yarn Love. The interesting thing is that gauge changes dramatically altered the pooling effect. On the left, the spiral is 7 sts/inch and goes in a clockwise direction. On the two right-hand sock fragments, the gauge is 8 sts/inch and the spiral goes in a counter-clockwise direction. The second from the left sock is 7.5 sts/inch, and the colors pool together completely differently. I also thought it was cool that the two sock fragments on the right have a different density, even though they were made at the same gauge, one right after the other. Long story, shortened: You have to make gauge swatches even on a CSM.

My inner organic chemist came out to play on this one: The far left and far right sock spirals are enantiomers. They are non-superimposable mirror images, like your hands (you can’t face them the same way and stack them on top of each other). So cool.

Anyway, after fiddling with trying to make the heels and toes on the CSM, I finally called it and am in the process of hand knitting the heels, toes, and cuffs. Both heels and cuffs are done and are just waiting on the heels.

Other things I am currently working on: a pair of socks for TechnicoolDad, a gauge swatch for a new sweater, and a new MKAL.

Now that we are settled into our new home, we have a little bit more downtime than the last few months, so hopefully I’ll actually finish some projects. Both of us were able to get our COVID-19 vaccine first doses this past weekend, so we will be fully vaccinated in just a few weeks. Woohoo!